The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Mars Express spacecraft has been operating for the last 19 years in space. The Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionospheric Sounding (MARSIS) instrument on the spacecraft has been using Windows 98 since its launch. Almost two decades later, the engineers are finally gearing up for an upgrade.
According to The Verge, the MARSIS instrument played a key role in the discovery of a huge underground aquifer of liquid water on Mars in 2018. This discovery raised the hope of a life on the Red Planet.
The European Space Agency (ESA) said that the upgrade was much needed as it “will allow it to see beneath the surfaces of Mars and its moon Phobos in more detail than ever before.”
The new software will aim at improving the signal reception and onboard data processing to further enhance the quality and increase the amount of data sent to Earth.
“The new software will help us more quickly and extensively study these regions in high resolution and confirm whether they are home to new sources of water on Mars. It really is like having a brand new instrument on board Mars Express almost 20 years after launch,” says ESA Mars Express scientist Colin Wilson.